Saturday, March 27, 2010

You're a Teacher!!??!!

Scene: The Vintage Barn on a Friday afternoon buying a 6-pack of 100 calorie lime beer before I head to my friends house for some relaxation after a long week. This scene is the conversation that occurred between me and the cashier.

Cashier: Do you have ID?

Me: Sure (insert sad face- come on I am going to be 29yrs old!!)

Cashier: I love your hair!

Me: Thanks!

Cashier: Are you a hairdresser?

Me: No, I am a teacher

Cashier: A TEACHER??!!

Me: Umm, yeah (confused my surprised expression on cashier's face) 8th grade, I love it! (mostly)

Cashier: Oh well, we are having wine tasting here on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd

Me: Okay, thanks (obviously all teachers are heavy drinkers)

Why is it that still in 2010 people envision teachers as old women wearing buns and cardigans?

Okay, I know I am 28 years-old and dress trendy/professional, but why can I not have a degree and be a teacher? I think I am a much better role model for most of my students than say Miley Cyrus or Lindsey Lohan- come on people get a grip!! I have been teaching for four years and still get a surprised reactions from people when I tell them I am a teacher. Why are we still stereotyping? Okay, I know I look young and dress young and have 5 tattoos but they are always (mostly) concealed and appropriate (no naked ladies or inappropriate sayings on my body). Can a person not be an adequate teacher because they wear knee high boots and have a love for MAC makeup- I think not! I have a love for literature and children and the way I style my hair or apply eyeshadow does not change that or negate it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hi, my name is Amy and I’m a LUSH addict….

Okay, Okay- I have to admit I only just heard of Lush products about three months ago and even then it was by accident. While youtubing my favorite makeup gurus on youtube I often came across posts titled “Mac and Lush Haul” so I would watch the vlog- to see the MAC products and then keep watching about Lush. At first I didn’t get it, $9.99 for a bar of soap? $25 for lotion? What is the draw? Then time and time again I saw youtube vlogger after youtube vlogger talking about storing their Lush products, buying seasonal Lush products, cutting up their Lush products, reviewing their Lush products and I became curiouser and curiouser (thank you Johnny Depp for making my favorite quotes relevant).

The first time I went into a store I was OVERWHELMED!! Walked in, looked around at all the pretty colored soaps stacked up, saw some girl dissolving a sparkly ball in a bowl of water, sneezed, and walked out. OOKKAAYY… that was weird! Trying to forget about it I was again faced (time and time again) with many of my favorite makeup gurus raving about these products. So I decided to do some investigating online and navigated through thousands of reviews ( raving about everything from their bath bombs to lip scrubs.

Okay, so chalking up the first uncomfortable experience to chance, a few weeks later I venture in again with my friend from work (a partner in crime always makes uncomfortable situations easier). After about an hour in the store (and about 1300 demonstrations later) we walk out with a face mask (Cupcake fresh face mask) and some salt scrub (Ocean Salt). The downsides to the products and the store as I see it are the expense and the overwhelming scent in the store. For a 4.2 oz tub of scrub be prepared to shell out $18.55 or $32.95 for the 8.8 oz-pretty pricey but it seems that the small tub will last about three months if used 3x a week. Being impressed with my face scrub (and my friend loved her mask!) I decide to try a few more products!

During my second trip to Lush I decide to get the Tree Tea Water Toner ($17.45 for 8.4oz-still a little pricey but not insane) but there were out (sigh) okay so I opt for Dream Cream moisturizer ($ 22.55 for 8.4oz) since one of my favorite makeup guru’s raved about how it transformed her skin. I also purchase a small block of Figs and Leaves soap ($7.60 for 3.5oz) and the Love Lettuce fresh face mask ($5.95 for 2.65oz).

After about two days of using my soap and lotion I broke out in a red itchy rash all over my chest, on the third day it is all over my body. I take the day out of work, call my doctor and make an appointment bringing in my lotion and soap. The culprit? The $25 lotion I just bought contains Benzoin which I am HIGHLY allergic too. Never have I found this in any beauty/cosmetic product before. So after eight (agonizing) days on Prednisone I head back to LUSH to return the lotion and get the Tree Tea Water Toner (hallelujah it is there!), Enchanted Eye Cream ($22.35 for 1.5oz) , I Should CoCo bar soap ($7.95 for 3.5oz), Bohemian bar soap ($7.50 for 3.5oz) and a sample of Vanilla Dlite body lotion .

Loving the eye cream and soap I return once again with my friend Nicky. After hearing me rave about many of the products she is now curiouser and curiouser. Let me just say going into Lush on a weekday and a weekend are two totally different experience, try to go on the weekday it is so much easier to speak to someone there and look at all the different products at your leisure. After yet another hour (and 1400 different demonstrations) later I leave with two massage bars , the Wiccy Magic Muscles Bar ($8.75) and the Mange Too massage bar ($9.75) if you buy two massage bars you get the massage bar tin for free (a $2.95 value). The Wiccy bar is great for tired, sore muscles but I gotta say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Mange Too bar even more it smells sooo good that I find myself applying it three times a day (I am going to have the softest skin ever)!! I also purchased Grease Lightening ($9.95) an acne spot cleanser which I also love- it does not burn or feel tight on skin and seems to really make a big difference overnight. I wanted to buy the Baby Face cleanser ($9.45 for 1.2 oz) but once again they were out of that product (strike 2 Lush).

The girl at Lush was also really generous with samples (I also see a difference in this when going on the weekday vs. the weekend too) I received a few samples including BIG shampoo, Angels on Bare Skin cleanser, and Charity Pot moisturizer. I must say even though we are on strike two I am in love with Lush (actually strike three if you count the rash)- I love the natural unique products and the variety of scents.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slim over Style

Recently I have been doing the unthinkable. I have been foregoing fashion for the sake of staying thin (and getting thinner). That's right, instead of wearing my favorite boots, heels, or flats I have been wearing my Reebok Easy Tone Sneakers EVERYWHERE!!

Today I even wore them to work with a pair of black and gray pinstriped pants. As I see it, I do a lot of walking in a day and if I can use my hamstrings 11% more, my calves 11% more and my butt muscles 28% more ,then I am all for it!! This means from 7:00 A.M- 5:00 P.M I am working my muscles and my feeling comfortable while still remaining to look professional(ly).

However, I have been known to break certain fashion rules on my journey to thinness, for example I have taken off boots and worn them with my dress and leggings-not so cute. However, I was going to run errands and felt even looking like a crazy sneaker lady there had to be somebody with a 10 foot radius that looked crazier. Thankfully there were plenty of women wearing leggings as pants and flip flops in February to make me feel comfortable with my decision.

P.S. Dear Reebok,
There seems to be a little too much butt cleavage in your ad, it makes me uncomfortable. Also, have you considered EasyTones for men? My husband could certainly afford to use is butt muscles more.

Monday, March 8, 2010

February Favorites- Skincare

Okay, so now that we are well into March I can discuss some of my favorites in February. Now please understand I never buy ANYTHING without checking millions of reviews first. My favorite way of doing this is through and This is beacause as I see it if I am going to shell out my hard earned money for a product, it better be the best damn product I can buy! Therefore I present to you (with much trial and error as well as an insane number of hours online) my favorites in:


Cleanser: Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Gel-$20-derived gel cleanser that foams-away impurities and helps normalize skin. Enriched with chamomile, lavender and anti-oxidant vitamin E.
• Gently dissolves makeup and impurities
• Leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed
• For normal to oily skin
• Refreshing new aroma with 16 certified organic essential oils
-I have been using this for about two months now and I have noticed a difference in my skin clarity as well as the overall condition of my skin. I started with a sample size and when I ran out bought the big one.

Exfoliant: (Daily) Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant-$19-This non-abrasive liquid wipes away spent surface cells revealing a smoother, clearer, more refined complexion beneath—and pores that are primed for maximum treatment and moisture benefits.
• Promotes skin clarity and smoothness
• Leaves skin looking soft, smooth and supple—with a healthy glow
• For all skin types
-I also bought this as a sample size and I am about half way through. I am not to sure if I will repurchase this again because I am unsure if it is actually doing anything.

Moisturizer: Neutrogena Oil-Free Oil-Free Acne Stress Control, 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment-$7.99-Make acne one less stress
with MicroClear Technology
1. Treats acne even before it emerges
2. Hydrates & softens
3. Reduces redness
-I have been using this product for three months and although I like it, it simply not moisturizing enough. Therefore, I mix a dime size amount of this with the next moisture to create a great one.

Moisturizer: Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture for Combination Skin-$11.99-Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Combination Skin:
• Moisturizes dry areas and controls shine in oily areas
• Lightweight, non-greasy formula moisturizes where skin is dry, without leaving it oily or shiny
• Skin looks and feels softer and smoother
• Clinically proven oil-absorbing MICROSPONGE system controls oil and shine in the T-zone, or wherever skin is oily for a natural, matte finish all day
• Oil-free formula absorbs quickly and won't clog pores, which can cause breakouts

Scrub: (weekly) Lush’s Ocean Salt – $32.95- coarse sea salt to give skin a fresh glow. Brightening and cleansing grapefruit infusion and lime oil are balanced with nutritious and moisturizing fresh avocado butter and coconut fat.
-I have only used this three times and I do love the scent and how my skin feels after it. However, I am unsure yet if it causing breakouts or not.

Mask: Lush’s Love Lettuce-$5.95-An effective, exfoliating face mask which gives normal to oily skin a softened, smoothed and radiant glow. Polishing almond shell is balanced by the skin softening qualities of almond oil and seaweed gel. With soothing lavender essential oil and the cleansing, tightening action of Fullers Earth, you'll feel fresh in no time. Apply to clean skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave for five to ten minutes, then rinse with warm water massaging gently. Keep chilled.
I have used this twice so far and I don't really see too much difference in my skin other than new breakouts- however, I am hoping the mask is simply detoxifying and cleansing my skin and the breakouts are temporary. Time will tell!

Please let me know if you have tried any of these products or what your skincare routine is, and remember:

Khalil Gibran, (1883 - 1931)
"Beauty is not in the face;
a beauty is a light in the heart."

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

Leggings are NOT Pants!

There seems to be an epidemic sweeping across America that is infecting women of all shapes, ages, and sizes. The infected will appear delirious and confused but the most obvious way to detect them is they will be wearing leggings as pants.

Okay, Okay, maybe it is not an infectious disease just some misguided soccer moms, college kids, and teeny boppers. However, this insanity can not continue. Maybe this tip will help: leggings should be considered as a substitute for tights NOT pants. Leggings are perfectly fine under a skirt, dress, or tunic; any time you could also wear tights without offending someone. Leggings are also fine if you are doing yoga or exercising. Leggings are fine if you are hanging around the house. However you do not wear leggings (or tights) in place of a pair of jeans. I don't care if you are 24 or 42, if you weigh 124 lbs or 421 lbs, no one, I repeat, no one should wear leggings as pants.

Now of course I teach at a middle school and therefore I see this fashion faux pas everyday, and I don't blame my 13 year-old students for their misjudgements. No, I blame the celebrities for going out in this state and then I blame the parents for allowing it!

So, lets ban together to stop the madness. NO more leggings as pants. If you see one of the infected approach cautiously and address your concern for their lack of judgement and then hand them a skirt!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dear Parents,

I am a teacher and I AM NOT THE ENEMY!! I would like to take this time to clarify a few things. First, I did not decide to pursue a career in teaching because of the lucrative salary, the prestige, or because I am a fan of conjunctivitis or running into my present, past and future students at every movie theater, mall, grocery store, CVS, Dunkin Donuts or Target within a 30 mile radius (because really who needs a private life?). On the contrary, I chose a career in teaching because I have a passion for literature and a love for children. However, crazy parents are going to have me throwing in the towel long before I put my 30 years in. Please allow me to explain. You are the reason that great people leave the teaching profession every year for higher paying, less stressful jobs. I think that the reason for this confusion may be because you believe us to be miracle workers. Please let me state: "I am a teacher not a miracle worker!" However, part of being a teacher means I am also in many cases: a substitute nurse, therapist, counselor, mediator, comedian, role model, motivator, facilitator, creator, monitor, librarian, technician, manager, communicator, modifier, disciplinarian, evaluator, conveyor, assessor, surrogate-parent and professional multi-tasker!

Secondly, while I am responsible for teaching your student everything they need to know based on the Standards of the Department of Education and while preparing them to pass testing. I am also responsible for keeping students engaged, participating, and learning. However, I also need to be resolving arguments, breaking up fights, combating distractions, solving unanticipated problems, taking attendance, grading papers, e-mailing parents, differentiating instruction, writing recommendations, attending IEP meetings, attending faculty meetings, attending 504 meetings, attending re-evaluation meetings, scheduling parent meetings, distributing papers, collecting papers, answering the class telephone, bus duty, hall duty, library duty, placing grades on-line so you have 24 hour access to it. Oh, and I coach Drama Club too, usually all in the same day!!

Therefore, to expect me to know what your child is thinking or what other students are saying to your child when they are not under my direct supervision (for example: in the cafeteria, on the bus, in the hallway, in the bathroom, in the gym, etc) is out of the question. Although I am able to go to school full-time and work full-time while continuing to be a wife, daughter, sister, neighbor, friend, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin, granddaughter, and role model; I am not Superwoman and I do not have super human powers. Keeping this in mind. Please, before you come storming into the school after your child's teacher remember this: we are all human; so take a deep breath, wait a day (unless it is an emergency situation) and simply consider that your child may be telling you the truth as they see it, not necessarily the truth. Once you have taken a step back to reassess the situation and if you still feel it warrants a meeting then by all means e-mail, call, set up an appointment to meet with the teacher. However, confronting a teacher when you are that upset only makes the teacher go on the defensive and no one wins. And please, please do not bring your child to witness your verbal attack on their teacher, this only make it an uncomfortable situation for the next few months when your child has to remain in that teachers class.

This profession already suffers from a lack of respect, lets not perpetuate it. Most of your child's teachers are well educated, passionate, hard working people. Please remember that teaching is often a thankless job and we very seldom receive a "thanks" from grateful, appreciative students or their parents. A lot of the time the first time we meet a parent all year is when there is a complaint or problem. Unless you are a teacher, have been a teacher, or substituted for a teacher then you can not begin to understand the amount of responsibility we have daily.

"If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job"~Donald D. Quinn


Your child's teacher

P.S I would also appreciate it if you didn't run me over in the parking lot on your death proof mission to drop your child off at school, grab a coffee, and get to work, thanks!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wii Fit told me I am "NORMAL"

Well, I had a pretty terrible day (students locked in a closet, broken glass, crazy parents-don't ask) and the only shining light I had was when I completed my daily "Body Test" this evening on my Wii Fit. Finally, after 198 days of use (yes, wii fit tells me EVERY TIME I use it how many long, slow days it has been) and six weeks on weight watchers-FINALLY wii fit told me I was "NORMAL" instead of "OVERWEIGHT" which is what it has said for all of the 198 days I have been using it!! I got to tell you, it was great to see and hear it, I even called my husband over as a witness to my normality. Like many of you I have struggled with my weight for about ten years. It is a constant struggle and I have genetics, laziness, and gluttony all working against me! However, with the help of weight watchers and supportive family and friends I have been consistently shedding the pounds and reaching normality. Here are some tips that seem to help me!

My tips:

1. Drink LOTS of water, you can't drink enough water! When you think you have had enough water, drink one more. I fill a Thermos Hydration Bottle about four times a day (each refill is 18 oz). I also use fresh lemon which helps detox the body. The Hydration Bottles are great because they keep your water cold for up to 12 hours, they don't sweat, and are super cute.

2. I take a One-A-Day Weight Smart Advanced vitamin every day as well as Biotin and B12.

3. I pre-plan all my meals every two weeks. This way I know I am making healthy dinners and have healthy snacks on hand at all times and my husband doesn't even realize he is eating healthy.

4. Do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. I do this in a number of ways: using my beloved wii fit, playing JUST DANCE for wii, yoga, or wearing my Reebok Easy Tone sneakers while running away from scary parents!

5. Get plenty of rest/sleep-7.5 hours is recommended.

6. Eat breakfast! This is so tough for me, but now I always eat something within two hours of getting up to get my metabolism going.

7. Don't drink Budweiser's Select 55- it is awful and tastes like water with extra calories.

8. If anyone tells you muscle weighs more than fat you can officially bitch slap them!!

9. Write it down! Whether you are counting points or calories, keep a food journal. I never realized how many calories I really ate until I really started looking at food labels. For example: I get 20 points a day to eat, a pumpkin muffin from Dunkin Donuts is 14 points- this is crazy talk!! No wonder I am fat! I was eating almost my entire days worth of points at breakfast (insert heavy sigh)!!

10. Remember this quote from my favorite cocaine snorting super model, Kate Moss "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is a Bell Jar?

The Bell Jar along with being the name of my blog is also the title of my favorite book by Sylvia Plath. To me the bell jar represents the confines of social pressure. Sometimes we all feel suffocated by the bell jar. The bell jar can represent many things: a thankless 9-5 job, a loveless marriage, unappreciative children, increasing debt, our insecurities, or need for acceptance. Whatever your bell jar is, we all need distractions to get us through it, get out of it, or forget we are in it.

I am constantly on the look out for the next distraction and hopefully I will help you find some distractions of your own.

A little about me: I am a 28 year-old eighth grade English teacher in a small town in New England. I may be one of the only eighth grade teachers that can recite every Lil' Kim lyric and wears four different eye shadows to work. However, I have my BA in English and currently working toward my MAT in Teaching. In my spare time (when I am not teaching, preparing to teach, grading work I already taught or taking classes on how to be a better teacher) I like to ready trashy vampire books, obsessing over MAC, Lush and Coach products as well as trying to lose a few more ounces before my next weight watchers weigh in- yes I said weight watchers!

I have been trying to write a memoir for many years but can never stay focused long enough to complete a full thought (all those damn distractions). I am hoping that this blog (that my friend Jen inspired me to create see her blog at will help me fulfill my need to write, share, and complete my thoughts. This blog will be my general ramblings, venting, observations and opinions about a number of topics including literature, shopping, teaching, weight loss, as well as my favorite (or least favorite) products or current "distractions" from my bell jar.

Food for thought (since I already used all my points for today):

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -The Journals of Sylvia Plath, Smith College 1950-1955, p83.)